1. How much time has passed between Act 1 and Act 2? How do you know? (Keep watching for evidence.)
2. What is Polonius telling Reynaldo to do? What does this tell up about Polonius and his way of thinking and acting?
Polonius is directing Reynaldo to question Laertes' friends to find out what Laertes is up to in France. Reynaldo must accuse Laertes of false offenses, not any too consequential, in order to find out the truth of his behavior. Reynaldo and Polonius seemed used to the idea of following others around and being clever and well thought in their methods, so it would seem that Polonius is one of suspicion and mistrustful of even his own son.
3. Why is Ophelia so upset when she enters at 188.8.131.52? What has happened to her? Does Hamlet's appearance (in her telling) as a madman (a distracted lover) come as a surprise after what we last heard him say? Why would he appear in this sort of madness to her? Is there any possibility he really is a distracted lover responding to Ophelia's apparent rejection of him? How well has she obeyed her father's orders in 1.3?
When Ophelia enters the scene she cries that she has been frightened by Hamlet's strange behavior. While she was sowing in her room Hamlet barged in with dirty and messed up clothes, looking pitiful and insane. He then went up to Ophelia and held her wrist while stroking the side of her face, nodding three times and sighing "profoundly", then subsequently leaving her. It was surprising to involve Ophelia so directly in Hamlet's play at insanity, as I figured he would act around Claudius and Polonius instead. But by acting as a distraught lover, the source of his insanity is clearer and easily acceptable by Claudius, Gertrude, and Polonius than the "murder" of King Hamlet. It is difficult to tell if Hamlet truly is upset at being rejected, as they have not been in a scene together and as Hamlet seems to condemn women from his experiences from his mother. Ophelia has strictly obeyed... [continues]
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